Stickman Readers' Submissions June 7th, 2010

Mia’s Adventures In Farangland

So Mia and I take a visit to our local bank branch. The staff there know me very well and they all start to take a shine to Mia. Get this, the tellers actually walk out from behind their fortified counters and come out to have a chat with Mia in the public area.

Anyway, as relationships grow, one day this lady teller comes out to chat with Mia and asks Mia if she could teach the teller lady to prepare and cook some Thai food. Teller lady says that of course she expects to pay for the lesson.

He Clinic Bangkok

At this stage Mia is a little bit hesitant and unsure whether this is something she would want to do and could see herself enjoy doing.

So we go home and chat about ‘the offer’. Mia does cooks terrific Thai food for herself and me, twice a day, every day in our home.

A large concern for Mia is the fluency of English and the language barrier. I assure Mia I will be there and act as interpreter, if and when required.

CBD bangkok

So we figure that we have nothing to lose and Mia has everything to gain!

So a couple of days later we go back to the local bank branch and we have the usual chat with the staff, especially with the lady teller in particular that had made the cooking request.

We arrange with her a mutually agreeable day that she will come around to our house at lunchtime.

Mia decides to ‘show case’ a Thai soup, Thai curry and a noodle dish.

wonderland clinic

We figure to prepare, cook and eat the above dishes will take about 3 hours.

So we decided on the following format, which will flow like this:

Ø Guests come and we have a 10 minute chat to ‘Break the Ice’

– We usually derive their interest in Thai food and Thailand experience

Ø Then guest are shown how to wash and cook rice with electric rice cooker

– Amazing how many ways people cook rice and with limited success

Ø Mia then prepares ingredients for 1st dish – Thom Yum (Thai soup)

– Chops vegetables to size

– Shows what you do with lemongrass, ginger and Kaffir lime leaves

– Dish is then cooked – guests can be as hands on as they wish!

– We all then sit down to eat the soup, talk and discuss how it could be changed to suit individual tastes

Ø Mia goes around the 2nd time with a Thai curry

Ø Then again a 3rd time with a noodle dish.

Ø My role is Mia’s ‘Kitchen Bitch’ – cleaning and wash dishes!

It’s been a couple of months now and the above methodology usually takes between 3 and 4 hours.

We usually host between 1 and 5 people at a sitting.

Mia now has a webpage promoting her Thai take away menu, the Thai cooking workshops and also photos of all the Thai ingredients required, to assist people when they go out shopping.

Mia’s customers get emailed all our Thai recipes after the workshop.

The business model is highly social. Mia and I get to meet many local people who have a genuine interest either in Thai food, Thailand or even better, both!!

The visitors of course pay Mia for her time and to cook. However Mia was going to cook for the two of us anyway! We smile at this!

Cooking is something that Mia very much enjoys (I too enjoy the results!!) for the two of us, so we see this just as an extension of this.

For Mia there are many many tangible benefits coming out of this new venture:

Ø Quickly growing mastery of the English language intricacies

Ø Confidence conversing understanding quickly spoken Farangs in English

Ø A passion, that now pays Mia money without leaving home to go to work

Ø Socialising into the Farang local community. People she has met through the Thai cooking workshops, now stop and wish to speak to Mia whilst Mia is out and about.

Ø Mia now has repeat customers, returning for advanced Thai cooking lessons. Maybe to make money bags or spring rolls.

Ø Word of mouth is spreading like wild fire. Mia’s business seems to have naturally filled an undiscovered gap in the market for the love of things Thai.

So to all my other comrade “Saamee Farangs” out there, maybe if you Mia is wanting to start a small business, try out Thai cooking classes based at your home.

From our joint experience there appears to be nothing negative to lose and just about everything positive to be gained.

Before the above venture I have alluded to today, Mia had already started a small home-based Thai food takeaway business. She had regular customers, however maybe not as many as we had hoped for.

Now after 14 months in Farangland, Mia finds herself with twin revenue streams.

The two business models complement each other perfectly and now we find one business stream usually leads new business to the other within a matter of weeks.

Stickman's thoughts:

This is really great! Thai women can get bored very easily so if you can get her doing something she enjoys AND making money at the same time then you are on to a real winner!

nana plaza